I am here. Months of planning, what seemed like endless waiting, praying, anxiousness in the unknown, fundraising, and excitement - all for this moment.
I am here.
We arrived at the house, and were quickly greeted by lots of eager faces ready to help get us moved in. The house is bigger than I remember. As I lugged my multiple heavy suitcases and other heavy belongings up the stairs to the third floor, I began to wonder why I packed so much. I finally made it to my room, which I share with three other girls. I was delighted to see that it was three and not seven, but hey, God’s gonna do what he’s gonna do this year…even if I would’ve had to room with seven other girls…. My bed is in the center of the room, and if the door is open I can look right down the hall without moving - “hello housemates!”.
I got all of my stuff moved in, and said goodbye to my parents. Things were starting to feel more real once I realized that my parents were gone and I was here in big ol’ Seattle all by myself…. but I was quickly welcomed with open arms by the incredible interns I am sharing this year with.
Laughter has already begun to fill this house. There is so much joy and love I feel here, and I am so excited for what this year is going to bring! It already feels so different, so foreign, and I have had passing thoughts of “oh my gosh, are you really ready for this?”
No, I am not ready. Nothing can really prepare me for the impact that this year is going to have on me mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. God is going to show me some crazy things, and there will be moments where I am completely stripped of my pride, and really have my faith rocked…. but I know that this is what I’m here for. I am here to be challenged, to serve, and to learn true humility. This year is not about me, or how “ready” I am to tackle what’s in front of me, but more of how willing I am to let God shape and use me. So, here I am…my first night in Seattle waiting to see where God is going to take me this year.
"And I heard the voice of the Lord saying ‘whom shall I send?’ and ‘who will go for us?’ and I said ‘I am here. Send me!" - Isaiah 6:8
I am here.
As many of you may already know, I have had a huge burden on my heart for the homeless and sex trafficking ministry. It has been a whirlwind of a year learning what that means for me, and following through doors that God has opened and patiently understanding those that he has closed. Over the last couple of months I have been earnestly seeking God’s direction in where he wants me to be and what he has in store for my ministry. In trusting his lead and timing, I have been blessed with an INCREDIBLE opportunity to learn what it means to be a servant, a missionary, and devote my life to helping those that I am passionate about….
It is with great excitement and a humble heart to announce that I have been accepted to Serve Seattle, a year long urban missions institute in Seattle, WA. The program starts September 29th, 2014 and will give me the opportunity to intern with organizations that face the heart of homelessness and sex trafficking. I’ll be spending a year developing Christ centered relationships, serving others, and growing in my faith.
However, I CANNOT do this without my family, friends, prayer warriors, and fellow advocates. This program will require support both spiritually and financially. The cost is $5,000 which covers housing, food, and transportation for the duration of the year that I am in Seattle. Raising this money in a few short months is not an easy task, but I am trusting that with your support I will meet this goal and be on my way to being a world changer. As I have said in the past, I’ll be the first to admit that being a young adult living on her own with a passion for ministry is not the most financially rewarding- Just ask my dad. So, instead of selling my blood plasma 87 times or singing on a street corner, I decided to ask for something I don’t usually ask for - money. I’d love if you could financially support me on this journey. A little, a lot, any would be a blessing.
If you would like to give financially towards my trip, please click the “donate” button at the top of the page to give online. You may also give in the form of check or cash personally or via mail.
I am incredibly grateful for all of you who have prayed for me, supported me, and cheered me on to get to this point, and I am so humbled by your gifts of kindness and faith. Thank you so much for continuing to help me follow my passions and the calling that God has placed on my life.
118 SE Rodeo Loop
College Place, WA 99324
Washington state gets really cold in February.
I was running late for work this morning, and knowing it was the 6th of February, I figured it would be cold…so I grabbed my coat as I hurried out the door. What I didn’t prepare for though, was the bitter chill that accompanied the white flakes that were falling from the sky. I hadn’t had time to grab my hat and gloves, so I stuffed my hands in my pockets and raised my shoulders high enough that I “felt” like they were at least radiating some warmth to my now-red ears as I started (grumbling) the half block walk from my car to the building I work in. By now I had decided that I was “too cold” and in a bad mood.
Just as I was nearing the last corner on my treacherous walk that was way too far to walk in the cold (seriously, what cruel person decided to put the parking lot an entire half block away?!?), I heard the raspy voice of what sounded like a man humming and singing. (The frostbite and hypothermia must be setting in…I’m going delusional!! There’s no way anybody would be singing in this weather!!) I shot a quick glance upward and locked eyes with a rather jolly looking, scruffy grey homeless man I’d seen a few times before on my morning commute to work…. He gave me a huge smile and said “Don’t you know it’s cold out here? Where’s your hat?!” I gave him a effortless smile, and a half-hearted laugh that wouldn’t even fool a dead person… the optimism in my voice would have probably made a baby cry. With an obvious 15 more steps left to go before I reached the luxurious warmth of my building, the man, without missing a beat said “Do you want mine?”
My heart stopped. “No, thank you though! You keep it. I think I’m good to go from here!” I said this time with a genuine smile as I tried to hold back the emotion that was trying very hard to make me want to cry because I’d been a completely selfish idiot.
Who am I to complain about a few seconds in the cold when I woke up in my bed this morning, in a warm house, got in my warm car, to drive to my job where I spend all day inside a heated building making money? And then there is this man… his outlook and perspective on the day, and his heart to help someone who clearly had more than she even deserved, made me realize that I so often take for granted what I have and forget what purpose I am designed to serve. I had a coat, and was headed into a building with heat… and this man offered me everything he had… Why? because I looked cold. He wanted to help.
I wish my heart was more like that. Here’s to remembering that every day is a beautiful gift from God that has been given to us because there is still a purpose for us. Here’s to helping people. Here’s to giving everything I have, even when it’s taken for granted. And here’s to making more people smile, being less dramatic and remembering that somewhere there is someone that is completely oblivious to how cold it really is…
Today I had the incredibly wonderful and humbling opportunity to share my heart about the sex trafficking industry to the Exchange Club of Walla Walla. God definitely opened the doors for me to present the issue to this club, and he allowed me to capture the attention of many community members…
Imagine your son or daughter sleeping on a park bench in the heart of downtown Seattle. Imagine your brother, sister, aunt or uncle sitting on a dirty street corner being spit on and having profanities shouted at them by passerby’s. Imagine your grandparents sitting in the rain for hours with nothing to cover them but a soggy cardboard box and a dirty old sweater that they found in a nearby dumpster….
I’ve been in Seattle for three days. In three days I’ve seen real people with real problems. Cardboard signs that say “Homeless” “Disabled” “Hungry” and “Alone”. People begging for someone to just look at them; to just smile or acknowledge their presence.
How quick we are to pass judgement on these people. They’re dirty, they smell, they’re missing teeth, “they must be on drugs” or “they only want my money for beer”. But when you really stop and think about the man that you’re trying to avoid making eye contact with, you realize that he is someone’s son, maybe brother…he has a story. Maybe all he needs is someone to extend a simple act of kindness to remind him that he is not exempt from love.
*Images of Seattle homeless from a shared source
Photo Credit: Greg Khng Photography
Photo Credit: Erika Ellis Photography